Early results of the National Bowel Screening Programme in the South Island indicate participation has been higher than the national average, particularly among Māori communities. The programme is live in Southern DHB and Nelson Marlborough DHB, with roll-out planned across the rest of the South Island in 2020 and 2021.
Since the programme was implemented in Southern DHB over a year ago, screening participation rates have been consistently high. The latest Ministry of Health data indicates that all Southern DHB districts exceeded the national participation target of 60 percent, with a rate of 71.3 percent. Māori participation in Southern DHB is also above the national average, at 71.2 percent. Strong partnerships between the bowel screening programme and community-based Māori health providers have played a large part in helping to achieve this outcome. Figures also show that 68 people have been diagnosed with bowel cancer in Southern DHB as a result of the programme – three of whom identify as Māori.
The programme was implemented in Nelson Marlborough DHB in August last year. By the end of March 2019, participation was 69.1 percent, with Māori participation at 63.7 percent. To help increase Māori participation even further, an extensive roadshow focused on Māori communities across the district was held recently, with the support of the outreach service managed by Te Piki Oranga. Overall, 12 cancers have been identified so far.
Given Dr Sue Crengle’s editorial in this newsletter, it is clearly important that the next steps for the programme consider the risks of building in new inequities, and that there is a need to support wider consideration of this through connection with the Ministry of Health and Te Waipounamu Māori Leadership Group.